0

So I kind of do a pour over method but I do the following steps:

  • boil the water
  • put 4 to 5 tsp (20-25 grams) of medium grounds in 6 to 7 fluid ounces of water or 177 mL to 207 mL (grams) of water
  • stir the mixture and let it sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute
  • pour the mixture of grounds and water through a filter into the cup

But it seems like I just don't get enough caffeine. I've tried multiple brands and I always opt for the lighter roast "breakfast blend" organic coffee.

I've tried using extra scoops but it just results in a seemingly stronger but sub par cup of coffee compared to pre-made coffee from a shop. It just doesn't give me the same buzz. So unless starbucks and other companies are all spiking their coffee with amphetamines or nodoz, my coffee at home doesn't have enough caffeine.

What am I doing wrong? Also, does anyone know where I can buy organic robusta? I'm becoming convinced that arabica is the problem because it's roughly half the caffeine of robusta.

10
  • As like a frame of reference, one Awake chocolate piece (50mg caffeine = 1/2 cup of coffee) seems to have more caffeine than my 6 to 7 floz cup with like 4 to 5 tsp of coffee grounds per cup (roughly 20 to 25 mL of grounds).
    – mchid
    Commented Mar 2 at 21:50
  • A grande size latte at Starbucks contains 2 shots of espresso, and a grande Americano from Starbucks contains 3 shots. Are you sure you're comparing apples to apples there?
    – R Mac
    Commented Mar 13 at 23:39
  • Also you need to tell us grind size, how much water you pour, the temperature of the water, the height from which you pour, the specific of the pouring container you use, and the pattern in which you pour if you want a real answer. The details matter when it comes to caffeine extraction when using pour over. Also what you're doing isn't "pour over"... at least not in typical form. Your method probably needs a lot of changes if I'm understanding what you wrote correctly. (Brief immersion extraction doesn't work well unless hot water is pushed through coffee.)
    – R Mac
    Commented Mar 13 at 23:50
  • @RMac Pre-ground coffee is medium ground. A traditional cup of coffee is 6 fluid ounces and this is comparing ounce per ounce. For example, a tall iced coffee is 12 fl oz. According to Starbucks, an iced coffee is 50% ice. Therefore, this falls back to the standard of 6 fl oz per cup/serving and that's what I'm comparing to. Aside from that, we can compare a Starbucks doubleshot with cream (small can) and this is 120mg. I can drink half of one of these, roughly 60mg, and it's noticeably more caffeine.
    – mchid
    Commented Mar 15 at 2:28
  • @RMac A shot of espresso (or a tall latte) should be less caffeine than a standard cup of coffee or about 5/8 the caffeine of one 6 oz cup. A double shot of espresso is supposed to have 120 mg of caffeine so this seems to check out for 100mg per standard cup of coffee ( 5/8 × 2 = 1.25 ).
    – mchid
    Commented Mar 15 at 2:47

3 Answers 3

1

There are too many variables in the question for a definitive answer, but some thoughts:

  • Objective. What is your coffee objective? The question suggests that the coffee is just a mechanism for getting caffeine, rather than an experience of enjoying an exceptional beverage. If taste is not an objective, just wash down NoDoz with any beverage you want. If taste is the primary objective, the process you're using won't get you there.

    In general, though, caffeine is bitter. You can get it by drinking a lot of coffee that is easy to make and tastes good. If you want to get it in a small quantity of strong coffee that tastes good, that requires fresh, high quality coffee beans, better equipment, and skill, like you can find in a coffee shop. You need to be able to precisely control the extraction to produce a strong beverage that is tasty.

  • Recipe. The question doesn't provide enough detail about how you make the coffee. If you're brewing for 30 seconds to a minute, you need a medium-fine to fine grind to get a balanced extraction (assuming the water is in a normal temperature range for hot brewing). If you're using off-the-shelf, pre-ground coffee, that is generally a medium grind, which needs a longer extraction. At 30 to 60 seconds, it will produce an under-extracted brew. That will contain most of the caffeine, but won't have a good coffee taste.

    Teaspoons are not a typical measuring unit for coffee, but if you're using very-rounded teaspoons, the ratio of coffee to water described in your comment is in the ballpark for strength most people find good.

    You won't reliably or consistently achieve good-tasting coffee (especially at higher strength), without better precision. Start with beans that are fresh enough to still have a nice aroma. Grind the beans to the appropriate size for the brewing time. Control water temperature with a thermometer or time off boil. Measure accurately, using an inexpensive gram scale for the coffee rather than eyeballing volume measurements. Time the brewing accurately. With a precision process, you can fine-tune the variables to reliable produce good-tasting coffee.

  • Caffeine content. Caffeine is very soluble and is one of the first compounds to go into solution during brewing. Lighter roasts will have more caffeine because less of it gets destroyed during roasting. So you're getting the caffeine that's in the coffee. Robusta does have more than Arabica, but it also tastes different, and it may take some getting used to.

TL;DR: Without an investment of time and perhaps money, you won't be able to replicate what a coffee shop can do to produce strong, good-tasting coffee that will give you a caffeine buzz from a small serving. It can't hurt to try some Robusta to see if you like it. The simple solution is just to make coffee you like the taste of, and drink more of it to get the amount of caffeine you want.

2
  • My objective is to brew a cup of coffee that also contains the amount of caffeine I would get if I paid anyone else to brew it, so I must be doing something wrong. And although I used to drink other brands that had a mix of robusta and arabica, I also used to use a standard drip coffee maker. But the last drip maker I bought smelled like plastic so I haven't used one since. And I can't find organic robusta (I'm not a fan of glyphosate). It seems that the problem is that it ends up overly acidic, bitter, and black but it still doesn't have the caffeine it should.
    – mchid
    Commented Mar 7 at 10:49
  • But thanks for the insight. Based on this, I'm going to try a longer brew time with the standard amount of coffee.
    – mchid
    Commented Mar 7 at 11:16
1

I say Dolly's advice is spot on for a coffee enthusiast, but let's digress.

I think I've heard somewhere that Starbucks does typically use a lot of coffee, actually. You're getting a pretty strong brew from them.

You'll probably get more caffeine from a dark roast. Yes it's almost certainly true that more caffeine is destroyed by roasting darker, but that's a simple take on a complicated problem. See for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etnMr8oUSDo&t=13m28s where well-known coffee authority James Hoffmann bought a caffeine analyzer and made videos about it.

mchid you're describing a brewing process that's close to French press. Advice varies, but steeping 4 minutes is a pretty common recommendation for flavor. You'll also get more caffeine. Yes caffeine is extracted quickly while brewing, but it doesn't stop. Steep 2 minutes at least; see 7m54s in that same video.

Quite right, you'll get more caffeine from robusta. I'll mention Nguyen "Truegrit" claims to be an organic robusta, without personal experience or recommendation. See https://www.amazon.com/Truegrit-Peaberry-Robusta-Vietnamese-Organic/dp/B08MX294NL

2
  • I think it unlikely that caffeine is "destroyed by roasting darker," rather it would be lost by sublimation.
    – hardmath
    Commented Mar 20 at 15:26
  • Fair enough. "Almost certainly true" is overstating it, to be sure.
    – Salt
    Commented May 21 at 16:03
1

Your brewing method is far more similar to French press than it is to pour over. You should be using a coarser grind as is suited for French press and not a medium grind as is suited for drip. You should also let the grounds steep in the water for a longer time, about 4-5 minutes (total, including the 30 seconds to 1 minute you spend "blooming" the grounds).

Try more coarsely ground coffee and a longer steeping time and post back if you notice a difference.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.